Professor Roy Sidle

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Professor Roy Sidle


Research areas

  • environmental science
  • natural hazards
  • catchment hydrology / management
  • sustainable development
  • environmental change
  • landslide processes, prediction, and land use effects
  • hydrogeomorphic process controlling sediment and nutrient dynamics
  • integration of biophysical processes with socioeconomic issues
  • fate and transport of contaminants
  • hydrological modeling
  • cumulative effects of land use on water quality and erosion processes


Professor Roy Sidle's research focuses on bio-geophysical aspects of sustainability, including natural hazards, catchment hydrology and management, and interactions between socioeconomic pressures and responses and ecosystem processes. Specifically, he has been working on issues of environmental effects of land cover change, erosion processes exacerbated by mountain road building and grazing, coastal and mountain hazards – both water and sediment-related, cumulative effects of land use on water supply and sediment, and fundamental research on water movement in mountain catchments.

His research connections and collaborations with Japan, particularly at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute of Kyoto University and Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology, as well as with INRA (France) and National University of Colombia - Medellin, KFUPM, and JICA have contributed to studies that will help to improve disaster preparedness and resilience as well as promote a better understanding of ecosystem processes that perpetuate these disasters.

Professor Sidle's research on catchment hydrology and management directly relates to this natural hazard agenda as it provides the geomorphic and hydrologic setting in which these hazards occur. As such, understanding the fundamental processes of water and sediment movement and storage in catchments is key to better estimating the extent of flood, cyclone, chronic erosion, and landslide disasters. These topics provide the geophysical foundation for comprehensive sustainability studies. Current research in Australia is supported by CSIRO (runoff and erosion in the Burdekin catchment) and SEQ Water (landslide studies).

He has collaborated across a broad range of disciplines including socio-economists, engineers, aquatic biologists, environmental modellers, geotechnical experts, and agriculture and forestry specialists. His interests in sustainability issues in developing nations of Southeast and East Asia where rapid land use change and shifting demographics are occurring are of particular relevance to the University of the Sunshine Coast's Sustainability Research Centre.

Professional memberships

  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Geosciences Union
  • Soil Science Society of America
  • International Association of Hydrological Sciences
  • International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO)


  • Distinguished Professor award, Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology, Institute of Global Innovation Research, Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan, 2017 (continuing)
  • Adjunct Professor, Geosciences Department, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 2017 (continuing)
  • Hydrological Sciences Distinguished Lecture, Asian Oceania Geosciences Society, 2017
  • Research Visit Award from Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology, Japan, 2016
  • Travel award for visiting researchers, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan, 2014
  • International Award, Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources, Miyazaki, Japan for significant contributions to progress in the field of hydrology and water resources and valuable devotion to collaboration with Japanese and Asian researchers, 2014
  • Superior Accomplishment Recognition Award, US Environmental Protection Agency, for broad knowledge of environmental and ecosystems research, along with outstanding leadership skills, 2013
  • Superior Accomplishment Recognition award, US Environmental Protection Agency, for outstanding leadership and scientific guidance during 2011 to support change, productivity, and communications within the Ecosystems Research Division of NERL, 2012
  • Cited in a named award that will be given annually to an Environmental Science student at Appalachian State University – the 'Roy C. Sidle Award for Excellence in Research', Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA, initiated in 2012
  • Elected as 'Fellow', American Geophysical Union, 2010
  • Pojar award nomination, Bulkley Valley Research Centre in British Columbia, co-authoring an outstanding a paper related to natural resources and sustainability in 'Landslides', 2009
  • Best poster award (co-author), Japan Soc. of Hydrology and Water Resources, 2007
  • Editor’s Citation for Excellence in Manuscript Review award, 'Journal of Environmental Quality' American Society of Agronomy – Soil Science Society of America, 2006
  • Premier’s award, Innovation Finalists, Debris fan research team, British Columbia, Canada, 2005/06
  • Elected to the 'Wall of Fame', Pennridge High School, one of the initial six people inducted out of 10,000+ graduates over the past 50 years, 2002
  • Certificate of Merit and cash award, Chief of U.S. Forest Service for outstanding contributions to the Research‑Wide Affirmative Employment Plan, 1991
  • Certificate of Merit and cash award, Chief of U.S. Forest Service for outstanding leadership in developing the national water quality: cumulative effects from forests and rangelands priority research program, 1989
  • Research honorary, Sigma Xi, 1976
  • Agriculture honorary, Gamma Sigma Delta, 1972

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

  • Landslide processes
  • Coastal hazards and impacts in Australia
  • Catchment hydrology and management effects
  • Sustainable land use
  • Environmental change

Research grants

Project name Investigators Funding body Year Focus
Modelling of surface runoff and erosion processes in managed catchments of northern Queensland Roy Sidle CSIRO Environment Group (~ A$400,000) 2015–2018 Modelling hydrologic processes that control erosion and sediment transport from upland catchments in the dry tropics of northern Queensland which contribute to the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef
Innovative global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) – Enabled technology for monitoring regular and flooded flows in Australian waters Roy Sidle (CI) Australian Research Council Linkage grant 2015 This project plans to improve the monitoring of our waterways by developing a novel moving drifter system that takes flow and water quality measurements along the pathlines of the drifters
Towards a multidisciplinary program for improving rural livelihoods through integrated management of the Inle Lake catchment, Myanmar Roy Sidle, Co-PI ACIAR (funding for total project~ A$160,000) 2015 Assessing erosion 'hot spots' in the catchments around Inle Lake and examining the potential connectivity of these with sediment contributions to the lake
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